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by George Skentzos

BMW has released its first ever V8 powered M3 convertible, sure to bring a new era of performance to open-air driving.

Sporting a monstrous 309kW 4.0-litre V8 engine which happily revs to north of 8000rpm, buyers will have the choice of either a six-speed manual or the new seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic.

Unlike most faux-manual transmissions, the new M double clutch transmission out-powers its manual alternative in the sprint to 100km/h – done away with in just 5.1 seconds.

2008 BMW M3 V8 Convertible

The M3 convertible shares its aluminium powerdome bonnet, flared wheel arches, 18–inch wheels and dual M tailpipes with its four-door and coupe brethren, only the doors, three-piece steel roof, boot lid, windows and rear lights are interchangeable with other 3 Series Convertibles.

Amazingly, this high-revving, hard-accelerating sports car consumes only 12.3-litres per 100km.

2008 BMW M3 V8 Convertible

Its centerpiece is of course the three-piece lightweight steel roof which opens or retracts in 22 seconds, however reduced torsional stiffness and added weight means it is just over half a second slower than the M3 Coupe to one hundred.

The M3 Convertible is fitted with dual front and head-thorax side airbags as well as central safety electronics that control the restraint systems, including a roll bar behind the rear seats that is automatically activated in the event of a rollover.

2008 BMW M3 V8 Convertible

Active safety features such as ABS, ASC, CBC and DSC improve on-road predictability and also create a potent track weapon coupled with variable M Differential Lock which delivers power to the road in a controlled and measured way.

The braking system, like that of the M3 Coupé, comprises vented, cross-drilled discs at front and rear, designed to decrease weight while minimising thermal loads under heavy use.

2008 BMW M3 V8 Convertible

The high quality interior boasts all of BMW’s goodies, including a wide range of customisation options, innovative colours and materials and an optional BMW Individual High End audio system with a nine-channel amplifier and 16 high-power speakers.